Thanks to real life getting in the way, I didn’t make the June premiere of Month of Machinima, and have only just this weekend managed to sit down at the LEA with a small bunch of people and watch this month’s offerings on the theme of “Mixed Realities”.
Before getting to the films themselves, LL have added a further means to view movies; as well as the LEA theatre itself and the YouTube channel, you can now pick up an AviewTV pack scripted to play back the entries. For optimum viewing, however, I still recommend YouTube.
Now I have to say that “mixed realities” to me suggests films that combine mediums and ideas: machinima and real life; the “reality” and “fantasy” to create a visually compelling short film. A pity then, that of the month’s entries, there are two that come across as promotional videos – one for the sim in which it was filmed, the other for an in-world group of musicians. While undoubtedly skilfully executed, they seemed to fall wide of the mark when it comes to the month’s theme; as do a couple of other music videos which also seemed to fall wide of the mark, theme-wise.
In fairness, I have no idea how much support the event is getting – it could be that there were insufficient entrants that met this month’s criteria and the judges fell back on entries from May; however, with due respect to all concerned, I sat down to watch this month’s selection with a high degree of anticipation and came away somewhat disappointed.
RockseaTV offers a short film that is a lot – to me – closer to the mark, presenting and avatar’s daydream of falling into the real world. BaySweetwatertakes things a step further in Domo Arigato, Roboto-san, where we see footage of the Fukushima disaster, where robots were used in the aftermath, together with footage of a robot scooting around in Second Life – a celebration of both the use of automated machinery in the role of life-saving and the potential for Second Life to act as an immersive training environment for such tools and equipment.
My personal favourite for the month, however, is Magical Glorious Morn – a tale of an old man living in the bayou, who just might be plagued by unseen – and malicious – laughter. Is someone playing a prank? Are there in fact leprechauns tormenting him? Or is he simply going mad in his isolation?
Above: Domo Arigato, Roboto-san; below: Magical Glorious Morn
Next month: Games!